Obama, Warren and a false premise

President Obama’s “you didn’t build that speech” certainly created a firestorm. And it still continues to rage. Republicans, sensing a golden opportunity to prop up their own tepid presidential hopeful, seized the quote and immediately began using it as proof of Obama’s socialistic worldview.

Of course, if you take the president’s words at face value, he speaks the truth. Nobody created anything on their own. We live in an interconnected society. Businesses depend on others to supply parts and labor, to buy their products, and yes, to build infrastructure.

But what of his underlying message?

Obama wants to make the case that successful people somehow “owe” something to society at large. Implicit in his remarks, we find the idea that successful, rich Americans use “public resources,” such as roads and education, and this creates the justification for levying higher tax rates on the fruits of their labor. After all, the “public” helped them “build that.”

Obama’s remarks parallel those made by Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren last year.


Decentralization as a Means of National Defense

In All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, author Stephen Kinzer describes the U.S./British operation that lead to the deposition of a popularly elected prime minister and the installation of a repressive dictator. Without going too far into the history of the affair, suffice it to say that Iran was a virtual colony of the British Empire for the better part of 100 years.

One way the British government achieved and maintained control over the Iranian people (and a number of their colonies, for that matter) was by working to diminish the role and power of regional tribes. Political authority was then vested in the hands of an Iranian monarchy, which was supported by the British State and subservient to it.

This is one reason among so many that people should always seek to preserve decentralized social order and government power. Not only will domestic tyrants look to gain control of the people in their own territory, but outside parties can use the government to exploit them as well.


New Article: James Madison, Federal Overreaching, and Amendments Conventions

The writings of James Madison still offer useful guidance for states seeking to restrain federal overreaching. Akron Law Review has just published my short article discussing the evolution of Madison’s thought on the subject—from Federalist No. 46, through the Virginia Resolution of 1798 and subsequent writings, to his final recommendation that states unhappy with federal actions…


Love America, Hate Her Policies

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Michael Boldin and John Lambert lead the charge on Tenther Radio this week for the 56th episode. Michael’s nephews Trent and Pierce Boldin happened to be in studio and Pierce popped in on the mic to say “Hi,” to all you Tenthers.

Lambert has been working behind the scenes for a long time but tonight was his first time co-hosting.

Boldin shared the happy news that Jason Rink’s film Nullification: The Rightful Remedy won the award for Best Feature Length Documentary at FreedomFest in Las Vegas. Tomorrow in Newbury Park, the Thousand Oaks Tea Party will be hosting a free screening of the film with special guest Michael Boldin.

Lambert is not much of a fan of Texas Governor Rick Perry, but he gave him some credit for telling the federal government he will not participate in Obamacare, refusing to expand Medicaid or implement exchanges. Cassandra Anderson blogged about it here.


U.S. Postal Service Default

No, the U.S. Postal Service won’t close on August 1st because it can’t afford to make a required $5.5 billion payment into a federal fund for postal retiree health benefits. Yes, the entire situation with the USPS is a mess. But when you have politicians ultimately trying to run a commercial operation, constant clean ups in aisle four are to be expected.

Here’s the situation:

1. The USPS is bleeding billions of dollars in red ink and has just about maxed out its line of credit with the U.S. Treasury.

2. In April, the Senate passed a bill that would buy the USPS time by effectively kicking the can down the road.

3. A more aggressive bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) is unpopular with the postal unions, Democrats, and apparently enough Republicans that the votes are reportedly not there to get it passed. And if the votes are there, the House Republican leadership doesn’t appear to be interested in bringing it to the floor.

4. Even if the House passed a bill, it wouldn’t be easy for House and Senate conferees to hammer out a compromise given the differences between the two bills. Because there isn’t much space left on the legislative calendar, and it’s an election year, it’s hard to imagine that there would be enough time to get something done to avert a default.


To Intervene or Not to Intervene?

Turkey has a fighter plane shot down by a Syrian missile defense battery. Do you think that they will respond with military force? Do you wonder if anyone in our central government said that they wished it was one of our F4 Phantoms that was fired upon?

Syria, much like Libya before it, is in a civil war. There is a large group of people tired of the oppression of their ruling government and they are killing each other.

We had a President once who thought he knew better and went to war to prevent a bunch of states from withdrawing from the union of states that they had previously sought to join as members.

No country decided who was right and who was wrong and sent troops over here to fight on a side; did they? Is it our place to decide who is right and who is wrong in Libya, or Syria?

Let us say our country arrives at a point where we find ourselves in a civil war.

Say the people of a number of states tire of the tyranny of the central government. They refuse to be threatened with indefinite detention without trial or evidence.

They refuse to live with drones able to conduct 24 hour surveillance without any warrant. No more will they submit to bodily searches by uniformed thugs before they travel or having their mail, phone calls and Internet activities monitored.

A number of states decide that they cannot realistically expect their citizens to be able to pay their state, property and sales taxes needed to maintain the state as well as pay federal taxes for the central govt. to fund programs that support the schooling, food, housing and utility assistance of those who pay no taxes.


Do We Have the Stones

You know, with all the focus on Obamacare, and the horrendous decision by the “conservative” Supreme Court, I almost missed this story regarding a recent initiative that qualified for the ballot here in Oregon. The Oregon Cannabis Tax Act essentially legalizes Marijuana, and treats it like alcohol. Regardless of how you feel about pot, you should applaud this law.

Not because marijuana is “safer than alcohol” I am not certain of that argument. Not because the war on drugs is a gateway tyranny that allows the feds to justify atrocious behavior that would never be tolerated under any other circumstances. Not because you would enjoy getting high with your friends. You should applaud this because the federal government has acknowledged (by the ratification of the 18th amendment)  that they do not have the authority to execute the war on drugs, and they do it anyway!  If the Constitution is to mean anything, it must mean what it means all the time. Selective enforcement of the Constitution by both parties is what has brought the republic to the sorry place that it now stands.

Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather this blow be struck by the right. Nullifying Obamacare, or passing a firearms freedoms act would be somewhat preferable to see. Heck, I even wrote an article about the refusal of the Conservatives in Oregon to stand against federal usurpations. Interestingly this article was about the failure of the right, but when I closed with this challenge:

“Why is it that Conservatives have lost their courage where the left so defiantly treaded for Medical marijuana? Do Conservatives have the stones to reclaim their liberties from the Feds, or am I just shouting into the wind?”

This was the teaser used on the national TAC Facebook page. One conservative commented that conservatives would never back medical marijuana because it is “from the devil”. Interesting that a conservative could not bring himself to read an article mostly about conservatism and nullification for long enough to take the lesson that nullification does not equal open revolution.

At any rate, the initiative is a real middle finger to the feds, it is loaded with one liner quotes such as:


NFIB v. Sebelius: Wickard’s new companion

By: Brian P. McGlinchey

My previous commentary, “Why Merely Repealing Obamacare Isn’t Enough,” was written in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s Obamacare verdict.   Its aspirational title reflected my conviction that, for the Supreme Court to restore true Constitutional order, it couldn’t just reject the insurance mandate and its unprecedented intrusion into the lives of individual citizens—it would also have to overturn a deeply flawed 1942 decision that inflicted catastrophic damage on our national compact, a compact where the federal government is limited to powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

Today, that once-hopeful title now serves as a bitter reminder of a Supreme Court decision that—rather than restoring appropriate boundaries to federal power—instead broke an astonishingly wide new hole in the safeguards carefully crafted by our founders.

The Court Ceases Fire on the Commerce Clause

The 1942 case, Wickard v Filburn, inflicted upon the nation an utterly implausible if deviously imaginative interpretation of the Commerce Clause, one that disregarded the context in which the clause was written, severely eroded Constitutional restraint and helped enable the sprawling federal government we have today—and its ever-broadening threat to personal and economic liberty, state sovereignty and its own fiscal security.


A Losing Battle Beats a Cowardly Surrender

The worst thing in the fight for liberty is not an enemy.  An enemy, whether the party stereotypes of a warmongering Republican or welfare state Democrat, or the more realistic combination of both, gives us a clear view of what we are fighting in this Cold Civil War.  We can point to the likes of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi and ask, “Do you still trust DC to fix DC?” They can energize free minds to keep pushing our state and local leaders and remind us there is still a lot of work to do.

But what can really sap the energy from liberty minded people is when people act like they are different from the establishment, but then tell us that fighting for the Constitution is a losing battle.  It can be discouraging if one speaks too long with them.  They are and forever will be watching to see which way the wind is blowing, and when we gain momentum they will be on our sides with such enthusiasm you would think they gave Michael Boldin the idea to start the Tenth Amendment Center in the first place.

Such was the experience conservative activists had when listening to Congressman Paul Gosar (R – AZ1).  Be careful, Congressman?  Don’t fight for “just the Constitution.” Well if not enforcing the Supreme Law of the Land, then what do you suggest we fight for, Congressman?  Thank God activists like KrisAnne Hall and Stephanie Scruggs were there to fire back with a reminder of the oath of office this guy took.  You are an elected official, Congressman, and you took that oath, whether you think you can win with it or not!